Hailed as the “Christian Oscars,” the Annual Faith & Values Awards are sponsored by Movieguide, a non-profit organization dedicated to “redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and by informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media.” Founded by Ted Baehr, Movieguide also releases bi-weekly analyses of the content in movies and box office numbers and has since 1991.
On Tuesday evening, Dr. Baehr and Movieguide presented more than 25 awards to the most family-friendly and inspirational television programs and movies. The top prize is the Epiphany Prize, which is awarded to one television show and one movie that best epitomizes “man’s love for God or understanding of God.”
This year, the television winner of the esteemed Ephiphany Prize was Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, whose uplifting story focused on a man who overcomes the odds against him and becomes a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Hospital with the help and dedication of his loving mother. Other nominees for this award were “The Greatest Christmas Present” episode of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Christmas in Canaan from the Hallmark Channel, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler from Hallmark Hall of Fame, and Everyday Life from American Life Network. The Epiphany for the most inspiring movie went to The Blind Side. Despite being amongst such difficult competition as The Cross, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Knowing, Not Easily Broken, The Soloist, and Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself, this movie prevailed through its inspiring true story of compassion and motivation.
Likewise, the prestigious Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance in Movies was awarded to Albert Hall for his role in Not Easily Broken. Hall edged out several striking candidates, including Sandra Bullock and Ray McKinnon for The Blind Side, Jim Carrey for Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Cage for Knowing, and Tyler Perry for Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
The Best Movie for Families was given to Up from Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures, which left in its wake several strong contenders: 9, Astro Boy, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Earth, G-Force, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Monsters vs. Aliens. The Blind Side received the Best Movie for Mature Audiences award, having stood out amongst the competition, which consisted of Confessions of a Shopaholic, Invictus, Julie & Julia, Knowing, Star Trek, The Stoning of Soraya M., Taken, Terminator Salvation, and The Young Victoria.
The final award of the evening was the Freedom Awards for Promoting Positive American Values, which was tied between The Stoning of Saroya M. and Invictus. The television winner was Bedford: The Town They Left Behind.
In addition to a host of awards being rightfully distributed, Dr. Baehr presented Movieguide’s 2010 "Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry." Of the inspiring findings discussed, the most notable was the confirmation that moviegoers prefer movies with minimal explicit nature, specifically those without nudity and sex. According to Baehr, “Movies with no sex and no sexual immorality averaged significantly more money at the box office than movies with some or a lot of such content.” In fact, only 25 percent of the Top 24 Movies making $100 million or more overseas displayed any strong sexual content or overall immorality in 2009.
The emphasis of this year’s Movieguide Faith & Value Awards was not limited to a commemoration of the tenets of Christianity and spirituality, but to American values and patriotism as well. It is inspiring to witness celebrities who managed to remain unscathed by the secular and anti-American sentiments that are so prevalent in Hollywood.
Remarkably, there is an increasing number of traditional, faith-based films and television programs being produced. In fact, these types of programs are proving to be more popular in the box office. Since the inception of the Awards Show in 1993, there has been a 200-percent increase in family-friendly movies and a 400-percent increase in movies that embody positive Christian content. The success of these movies and the growing popularity of the Annual Faith & Values Awards prove that Christians are unwilling to remain complacent about their faith and the abuse it has taken for too long.